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Catholic College of Mandeville making an impact

Published:Saturday | April 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Ongoing construction at Catholic College. - Photo by Angelo Lawrence
Work crew on the job. - Photo by Angelo Lawrence
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Angelo Lawrence, Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

THE BAUXITE industry has for a long time been the economic torch of the parish and has made an impact on almost every household.

When Alpart and Windalco ceased operations some years ago, many economists tolled the bell of economic doom for the parish, and those with crystal balls were quick to shout "I told you so". However, the shock and economic disaster that were predicted never materialised, to the surprise of many. While predictors of gloom were getting attention from those who would listen, in the background were educational institutions such as Catholic College of Mandeville (CCM) that were busy educating the local workforce to preempt any fallout.

The college was established in 1992 by the late Bishop Paul Boyle with a focus on offering high-quality teacher training with a formula to make it affordable and accessible to all. With an enrolment of 18 students, CCM started its historical journey in tertiary education in a classroom at the Mt St Joseph Preparatory School, a short distance from its present location on Caledonia Road. Not one to blow its own horn or seek the limelight, the word quickly spread that CCM was making its presence felt within the teaching fraternity, and it soon found itself struggling to meet the demand for its services.

President of the college, Sister Una O'Connor, told The Gleaner that the phenomenal growth of the college is due in part to the quality of its curriculum and the dedication of its lecturers and management board, which strives to ensure that every gradate can stand up to any educational scrutiny on the world platform. With courses accredited by the University Council of Jamaica and several other accrediting bodies, the school offers courses from the diploma to the master of education level.

At a recent ceremony to highlight its partnership with the United States-based Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites lauded CCM as a shining example of an institution that is mindful of its responsibilities in educating its students.

Multimillion-dollar campus

With satellite campuses in May Pen and Kingston, CCM is constructing an ultra-modern multimillion-dollar campus in Williamsfield, two miles to the east of Mandeville.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The facility will house some of Jamaica's most modern teaching laboratories, and will offer a range of courses including information technology.

With Catholic College of Mandeville offering 50 full-time and part-time courses, it is one of Jamaica's fastest-growing accredited degree-granting institutions, offering a sound education to the Jamaican populace.

CCM's development officer, Everton Tyndale, said that while the college would be maintaining an emphasis on teacher education, it would introduce and develop new programmes as the need arose. He stressed, however, that the core of all programmes would have strong moral, ethical principles, and civic pride.